Government Involvement in Development
I was astonished to read, in the article "World Bank Report Stresses Democracy," July 8, the comments of Patrick Coady, United States executive director on the Board of the World Bank, about the 1991 World Development Report (WDR). He apparently disagrees with the thoughtful analysis of the WDR, that governments in less developed countries continue to have a role in building infrastructure, environmental protection, education, and making sure that poverty programs are carried out.This "solution" of removing government from the mainstream of the fight against these tragedies, without getting the private sector to pick up the baton, is rather absurd. Its ineffectiveness is very visible in the US, where in every city homeless and hungry people are everywhere. J.R. Williams, Cambridge, Mass.Skip to next paragraph
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Criticizing Cristiani In the article "El Salvador's Cristiani Deserves Praise - and Backing," July 5, the author praises Salvadoran President Alfredo Cristiani for promoting human rights. His government, however, still persecutes farmers, unions, and community and religious leaders. The author praises President Cristiani's economic reforms, though poverty is worsening and small farmers and entrepreneurs are cut off from credit. He even praises progress in the investigation of the murders of the six Jesuits, though they occurred 18 months ago and no substantial progress on the case has been achieved. K.R. Dahmen, Buena Vista, Colo.
Does the use of American tax dollars, sent in the form of military aid to El Salvador, promote United States security? Since World War II, consecutive administrations have believed that communism was a monolithic institution headed by the Soviet Union and set on a course for world domination. The world now sees communism as a pathetically inadequate economic system - one that promised the redistribution of wealth but delivered the elimination of it. Therefore, there is no justification for sending further tax dollars to El Salvador on the grounds of security. Furthermore, if the FMLN is savvy enough to elude defeat, it is savvy enough to know that El Salvador's interests are best served by friendly relations with the US. What difference does it make to US interests who wins the civil war? Barbara M. Fiedler, Oak Park, Ill.
I admit to being one of the "hand-wringers" this article disparages. I was filled with dire predictions that when Cristiani was elected, land reforms would be canceled. They haven't been canceled, but they have been thwarted: 350,000 farmers are trying to get land but applications for loans have been delayed past planting time, assuring no harvest. My fears of military escalations were also confirmed. In June 1991, even as the peace negotiations were in progress, the military stepped up attacks, not on the guerrillas, but on rural communities; two hundred farmers were forcefully removed from the community of La Amulunga. The two encounters the writer had with President Cristiani were not conducive to in-depth discussions. May I suggest that he talk to someone besides Mr. Cristiani - perhaps one of the farmers - and that he read something besides the State Department's report on conditions in El Salvador - perhaps reports by nongovernmental human rights organizations. Amnesty International's annual report shows that during the civil war thousands of civilians were killed by government forces, including several in 1990. Yvette Zinaman, Rochester, N.Y.